Is It True That Embedded Systems Developers Are Overrated?
The internet of things (IoT) technology has aggressively stretched its domain of power across the global marketplace. Billions of embedded software enabled systems are shipped annually. For embedded development, you need to think about hiring Java development team, C++ developer or any other high-end computer programmer who has intensive knowledge of electronic devices, operating systems and the latest embedded technology tools.
According to the Zion Market Research predictions, the global market of embedded systems will cross the $225.34 billion mark by 2021. It will grow at compound annual growth rates of over 6% during 2016 and 2021. This huge demand for embedded solutions has also increased the demand of embedded systems developers in the marketplace.
What Is an Embedded System and What Can Embedded System Developer Do?
According to the recently updated Cisco Visual Networking Index, there are expected to be more than 28 billion networked devices by 2022. These devices surround us on a daily basis and no wonder that embedded systems are rapidly growing driven by the power of the IoT. What is an embedded system and how it benefits the today world?
An embedded system is an integrated system built with a combination of computer software and software (called Firmware) designed to perform one function greatly over and over again. In some cases, embedded systems can be projected even for managing the whole operating system.
Though embedded systems are computing ones, usually, they are designed to perform one and the only task having no UI (user interface). But there are a lot of embedded systems that have complex GUIs (graphical user interfaces) with buttons, touchscreen sensor, LEDs as, for example, in mobile devices. A remote UI can be applied as well.
As you can see, some embedded systems can be very simple, other ones support human decision-making or command set but the main thing is, embedded systems are designed to perform one function. They are not expected to perform any additional functions besides the projected one, so these systems proved to be more reliable and durable compared to variable ones. Besides the reliability, they are not interchangeable which proves the importance of the embedded systems. Usually, complementary systems are modular or alterable but when it comes to the embedded systems, they are integrated into the core system.
Here are more pros of using embedded systems:
- they are reactive because of sensors and actuators triggered
- little power consumption because of the single function performed
- fits in a small space
- rarely need any hardware or software change
- the best solution for devices that don’t require user-end operations
- the best solution for devices that don’t need to be frequently updated
Basically, most everyday devices have an embedded system integrated into it, including a mobile phone, a car, a watch, a microwave, a washing machine, etc. Such IT devices as routers and switches are also built with the help of embedded systems. But there’s a bigger picture here: almost all industrial, medical, automotive, agricultural, aerospace, household devices have embedded systems in them. If we talk about IoT applicability, smart homes, drones, 3D printers, wearables, and others are growing in embedded system usage.
What specialist can develop embedded systems? It is the embedded software developer, also referred to as an embedded hardware developer is a computer engineer with expertise in the major computer languages like Java, C++, Python, C, and other high-level languages and electronic hardware, microcontrollers, and PCB boards. The knowledge of Linux operating systems is also very critical for an embedded system design engineer or embedded Linux programming. The embedded Java developers and embedded Linux developers are also hired by embedded systems companies nowadays.
People say that embedded system developers are overrated. But if take a look at the tremendous number of skills and knowledge needed to be the embedded system expert, it makes sense why such professionals set corresponding prices for complex embedded system development. Here is just an average embedded system developer skill set for you to consider:
- 2+ years of C/C++ and Assembly development, ADA, Python, VHDL will be a plus
- long experience with microcontrollers and microprocessor systems (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc)
- knowledge of different types of memory and memory-based software
- previous experience with electrical circuit designs, debugging and testing of integrated circuits and components
- understanding of CAD software basics (AutoCAD, SolidWorks, etc)
- experience with digital measurement instruments
- strong knowledge of IoT frameworks (Google Cloud Platform, IBM Watson, etc)
- data analysis
- technical writing
Impressive, right? That’s a bare minimum of what embedded system programmers deal with every day. Ready to hire one for your project?
Is There a Demand for Embedded Coder Nowadays?
According to the HEXA Research report, the embedded system market value, which also includes automotive embedded systems will reach $214.24 billion by 2020 with over 6.3% CAGR growth. This is going to generate a huge demand for embedded software consultants and embedded engineers in the global market. The embedded systems developer salary is increasing continuously in the global marketplace.
The popularity of embedded system is increasing all major domains of industries, but the important industries including automotive, industrial, healthcare, telecom, aerospace, defense, and consumer electronics. According to the Transparency Market Research report, the use of embedded automotive systems in the automobile industry is expected to grow at about 18.3% CAGR.
According to the DIGIT.IN article information, the future of embedded software development is very bright for many years. New technological ideas like IoT, intelligent devices and ubiquitous computing are getting grounds aggressively in our day to day life. All these technologies target the devices, objects, and users that are not in the millions, but they are in the billions. According to Attolic information, the number of IoT devices is expected to cross $50 billion marks by 2025.
So, the need for embedded software development and the desire of hiring workers for any embedded software company will remain for a long time to come.
Top 5 Embedded System Development Projects
The implementation of embedded programming in self-driving cars, automated traffic monitoring, integrated physical security of places and home appliance automation are a few ideas of embedded systems commonly adopted by the engineers and researchers.
Five major projects of embedded systems are mentioned below:
This is a very efficient and effective sensor based water system controlling system based upon microcontroller 8051. This system monitors the water level of a reservoir through sensors and signals the motors when the level is below the cutoff mark. The motor automatically starts filling the reservoir and when the water level reaches the high-level, it will signal to turn off the motor.
This embedded system supports 4 input power sources that can be mains, generator, solar panel, and inverter. All these sources are automatically detected as per the priority and configuration implemented into the system. The system uses 8051 microcontroller family, which supports four switch sensors from each power source. The controller switches the input supply to the available sources as per the set priority to maintain uninterrupted power supply to the output load.
In this embedded system, the radio frequency is interfaced with the 8051 family microcontroller, which is programmed to control the appliances of a home. The receivers are located at the load-end, which receives the signal from the transmitter of the home automation system to turn the appliance off or on. This system is very useful for the elderly and physically challenged people. This also increases the energy saving for a particular home.
#4 Medication Reminder System
The main objective of this PIC microcontroller based system is to remind the patients for a medication, appointment or a treatment. In this system, a digital clock (real time) is interfaced with the microcontroller that is programmed to take the configuration through keypads. The timings of medication, appointment or any other medication related matters are set. The controller gets the real time input from the digital clock and sends the signals for alarm to remind the patient for a particular medication.
This is a very popular system in many countries across the world. It turns on the street lights when it senses the movement of the vehicles or other objects. This project is based upon PIC microcontroller integrated with the motion sensing devices. The system can be configured for complete ON/OFF of the street lights or for a ration of illumination. For instance, when a vehicle is sensed, the light turns to 100% illumination and when the vehicles pass by, the lights turn to 10% of illumination. This system saves a lot of energy in many countries.
Top 10 Embedded Development Tools to Know About
The embedded system is developed with the help of software and hardware tools. In this section, we are going to talk about the major software tools that an embedded software developer should know about.
#1 Text Editor
The text editor is the primary interface where the embedded development code is created. A text editor is always a part of a good integrated development environment IDE. There are many good text editors like Sublime, Eclipse, Visual Studio and others to use for embedded software development.
#2 Text Version Controller
The text version controller is a very basic tool to maintain different versions of the code for better collaboration and cooperation within the team. Many people prefer to use the GITHUB service for this purpose.
#3 Development Libraries
Certain preprogrammed functions known as libraries are very crucial for embedded development. You can number of libraries, such as the Arduino microcontroller library for this purpose. The common type of functions like sensor reading, LED controls and other such functions can be used from those libraries.
#4 Static Code Analyzer
Static code analyzer assesses the code errors and its syntax checks without running them. This is a very crucial tool for embedded software development. You can use numerous code analyzers such as Reshaper C++, CPPCheck, PyCharm, JSHint, and many others for that purpose.
#5 Logic Analyzer
It is another important tool for embedded software development. Logic analyzers are used for monitoring the digital communication between different ports, channels and ICs and reporting of the logical communication issues. One of the best logic analyzers used for embedded development is Saleae Logic Analyzer. You can also use numerous such tools out there in the market.
#6 Software Development Kit
Development kits are commonly used by the programmers to speed up the development and code analysis at a fast pace. There are numerous development kits out in the market to choose from. A few examples of development kits include STM32 Nucleo Board, ST Microelectronics and Freescale Kinetis Freedom Board.
#7 High Quality Compiler
A great compiler is one of the basic tools that an embedded software developer should know. There are many great compilers in the marketplace to choose from. These compilers are available in the free version as well as in paid versions. The free versions have many limitations in terms of capacity, capabilities and freedom of use. So, it is always recommended to use the paid versions for this purpose.
#8 Debugger Tools
Debugging process is very fundamental function in any kind of software development, including the embedded software development. Many good development environments use the embedded debugger tools. You can also choose the desirable debugging tool in the market. Visual studio with Visual GDB is one of the best options for embedded developers to choose for this purpose. You can also use the ATOM platform for this purpose.
#9 System Simulator
The embedded development consists of the hardware components that are powered by the software code. So, it is always a great idea to use a simulator to simulate the entire system that a developer is working on. This provides a clear picture of the project, subsequently the code developed will be in-line with the requirements. You can use any good simulator like Proteus ISIS and others that match with your embedded software development project requirements.
#10 Application Templates
Application templates are very useful for the software designing purpose. You can also reuse your development templates to save time. You can use many application templates such as, driver design patterns, and HW abstraction layer templates. You can also choose any other suitable templates available in the marketplace for this purpose.
Moreover, you will also need some hardware tools other than the above described software tools for the embedded software development that you can get from the market easily.
What is the Best Way to Hire Embedded Engineers?
If you decided to hire embedded engineers for your project, you are probably interested in organizing the development process the quickest and easiest way. Let’s cut to the chase, there are three main ways to hire embedded software experts. Our recommendations on what working relations fit best in different situations are set out below:
- hire in-house embedded system developer if you want to have an expert at hand, constantly communicate, discuss, and implement changes alongside development process;
- hire embedded engineers or an embedded software development company working remotely on your project if you are ready to delegate the whole development process and schedule online meetings to control the development process and give feedback;
- outstaff a professional embedded coder if you want to extend your current development team with another specialist, get a fresh glance at the current stage of development, receive expert advice on the further development process, or get a one-time software development task done.
As you can see, things are pretty clear. Depending on what size and complexity of the project you plan are, you can find and hire embedded software engineer working in-house, outsource a dedicated development team, or outstaff a remarkable embedded systems expert. And before you review your first embedded software developer resume, make sure to clearly state your initial requirements, time frames, and the approximate cost of your project development.
The average salaries in major West European countries are very high as compared to East European countries. The major drivers of huge embedded developer salary differences include the availability of tech talent, cost of living, work ethics, government rules, and social security. The average salaries of an embedded system developer in major European countries are listed below:
As you can see, the lowest embedded systems programmer salary rates are related to Ukrainian specialists. This diagram doesn’t depict value for money; rather, it shows that the embedded programmer salary highly depends on the country the coder works in. Ukrainian IT specialists proved to be one of the most versatile and experienced in the global market. It is possible to find a remote Senior embedded software developer at an affordable cost and take advantage of the knowledge and experience of this person. What is more, Ukrainian programmers are known as friendly, diligent, and hard-working specialists.
Are There any Embedded Software Developers at Mobilunity?
Major constraints for SMEs and startups in the domain of embedded software development include the limited budgets, unavailability of tech talent, quality embedded software consultants and experts. The solution to all these constraints is the cost-efficient embedded software development services offered by Mobilunity.
Mobilunity helps all kinds and sizes of companies to develop embedded software applications with a high quality of code at very reasonable cost. The company is located at a geographically ideal location in Kyiv, Ukraine, and powered by the highly qualified, skillful and experienced team of embedded software consultants and developers. At Mobilunity, you can find and hire remote embedded engineers ready to start working on your project right away.